Budding philosophers’ techy tools

I just had to get through the entrance philosophy exam here at Ca’ Foscari University. Every sophomore knows it to be a mere formality. Freshmen, of course, don’t. They grapple for some time with the nightmare of learning 100 Greek philosophy terms, until they ask some older students, or simply don’t give a darn about the exam. I fell in neither of these groups. I just wanted to make it as fast as possible, and to possibly have fun while doing it.


Memory can be bitchy – it can get you in serious problems when you need them least. Like most people, I find it useful to attach as many mental links to a concept, so that I have multiple gateways to access it. If some of the pathways shut down, due to stress or anything else, it is good to have plan B, C, and D.

With a little array of tools, I got away with it.


First: AnkiApp.

You can find countless AnkiApp decks online, especially for language learning, and upload them in your desktop app. Since there was no available philosophical dictionary, I set up one on my own.


The fun – and productive – part is to create some wildly customised cards. Insert the text, some pictures, even audio tracks.


Once you have everything set up, it is easy to review them all with just a click, and get a marvellous, colourful score. Improving one’s grade day by day has been an useful way to track my improvement.

This way, you always have control over what you know, and what you don’t.



Second: Kumu.io

Kumu is a valuable free service to create mental maps. There may be thousands of similar services out there; however, what I wanted to point out is how mind-mapping has helped me. Linking words together made wonders for a faster memorisation of semantical cross-references, and made me feel more comfortable during the oral test.



I told you I had fun to pull off this little exam.

As cliché as it may sound…free your own creativity! These pictures speak to me, not necessarily to everyone. I ended up remembering many words not because of images themselves, but because of the effort I put in looking for suitable images, and because of their particular structure.

Some are classic, even elegant:


Some are a bit more esoteric:

Not everyone knows that Shivait yogis yell “Bholenath!” before lighting up their chillum.

What matters is that you remember words, associations have to strike you right in the face!


Some are just little pieces of childish graphics:


And others are simply plain weird… but who cares, if you succeed to memorize?